March 2018 Newsletter

  • Next Lecture: “Life on the Inner Frontier: The French and Indian War in Memory and Artifact in the Shenandoah Valley," Sunday, March 11 @ 2:00
  • VIDEO: "On This Ground," A Documentary History of Lovettsville (2006)
  • Benefit Dinner & Live Music at 1836 Kitchen & Taproom on Wed., March 21
  • Upcoming Lectures 
  • More From Our YouTube Channel: "Remembering John Hanson" Lecture (2017)
  • Nearby Events of Interest
  • "What Was That Building?" by Edward Spannaus
  • Map of Lovettsville's Historic Downtown Core, by Eugene Scheel
  • "What the Heck IS This Thing?" Guessing Game #3
  • History Mystery #4: Thomas Newton Wire's Blacksmith Shop
  • Pre-Order Our Upcoming 2018 Reprint of "Lovettsville, the German Settlement"
  • Our Mission
  • Answer to the "What the Heck IS This Thing" Guessing Game #3
  • ICYMI:  Back Issues of the LHS Newsletter
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Next Lecture - Sunday, March  11

All lectures are held at 2:00 on Sunday afternoons, at St. James United Church of Christ, 10 E. Broad Way, Lovettsville, VA; they are free and open to the public, although donations are encouraged to support the lecture series and the programs of the Lovettsville Historical Society.

Life on the Inner Frontier: The French and Indian War in Memory and Artifact in the Shenandoah Valley.”  Patrick Murphy, author of the award-winning book "The French & Indian War in Shenandoah Valley:  Life On the Inner Frontier 1752-1766," will discuss the French and Indian War in the Shenandoah Valley – the closest the war came to Loudoun County -- with a focus on how we remember it today.   Topics will include:
  •  The face of the frontier
  •  Indian mode of warfare
  •  Fortified places of refuge
  •  Representative incidents
Mr. Murphy, who has been a Navy engineer, an English professor, and a practicing lawyer, is now an accomplished historian and is a Board member of the French and Indian War Foundation in Winchester. 
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From Our YouTube Channel

"On This Ground"
A Documentary History of
The German Settlement of Lovettsville

Watch the Video
1836 Kitchen & Taproom 

Special Event With Live Music
to Benefit the 
Lovettsville Historical Society & Museum
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
On Wednesday, March 21, the 1836 Kitchen and Taproom will donate 10% of the proceeds from its sales, to benefit the Lovettsville Historical Society & Museum.  1836 Kitchen and Taproom is located at 34 E. Broad Way, Lovettsville, VA.   Hours on Wednesday, March 21st are 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm for dinner, and the bar opens at 4:00 pm.  No reservations are required.  Parking is in the back.  To preview the menu, see
The Short Hill Mountain Boys (Sam Kroiz and John Bestwick) will be performing that evening from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  The Short Hill Mountain Boys play their own blend of bluegrass, old-time, Cajun, classic country, and folk music with a rare passion.  Their harmony vocals, fiddling, and guitar picking are tight and practiced like the suit-and-cowboy-hat bluegrass acts, but imbued with the authenticity, spontaneity, and infectious good time of old time mountain music, in which they are well steeped.  

Upcoming Lectures

April 8, 2018 — “Mary Quantrell:  The Real ‘Barbara Fritchie.'” Chris Haugh, Frederick County historian and Historic Preservation Manager of Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick, Maryland, will explore the legend of Barbara Fritchie as it was shaped by Whittier’s poem, and will reveal who was the real flag-waver on that day when Stonewall Jackson and Confederate troops marched through Frederick.  

May 20, 2018 – “The Story of George’s Mill,” presented by Fran Wire, proprietor of George’s Mill Farm B&B, and a former Board member of the Lovettsville Historical Society & Museum.  Fran will tell the story of George’s Mill, located near Lovettsville, which has been in the hands of the George family for eight generations.

June 10, 2018 – “Waterford: A Village in Time,” by Neil Hughes, based on his new book,  A Village in Time 1660-1990: Discovering American History in a Small Virginia Quaker Village.

Other Lectures Being Planned For 2018 Include:

July 8, 2018 - Rebecca and Thomas: A Civil War Spy Tale.” In 1864 Thomas Laws, a slave, and Rebecca Wright, a Quaker, collaborated to provide vital military information to General Philip Sheridan, resulting in a Union victory at the 3rd Battle of Winchester.

- James Willard and Willard Hall, Lovettsville.

- Caspar Wever and Weverton, Maryland.

… and more.
 More From Our YouTube Channel

Remembering John Hanson 
A Lecture Presented by Peter H. Michael (2017)
On November 5, 1781 – just weeks after the American victory at Yorktown – the United States officially came into being, and John Hanson of Maryland was selected as the “President of the United States in Congress Assembled.”  The Articles of Confederation had been drafted in 1777, but were not ratified until March of 1781.  The Articles authorized the newly-elected Congress to meet on the first Monday of November, when it elected John Hanson as President.
Watch the Video
Nearby Events of Interest

March 1-31 - Exhibit: Highlights of Loudoun County African American Bus Tours, presented by the Black History Committee of Friends of Thomas Balch Library. Margaret Mercer Room, Thomas Balch Library, 208 W. Market St., Leesburg.

March 10, 11, 17Special Concert series: “Washington, D.C. - A Dream of America,” presented by the Master Singers of Virginia. The Pilgrims dreamed of a New World free of religious persecution, while Native Americans dreamed of living in peace on their land. Our forefathers dreamed of a new nation, independence, and a shining new Capital city. When Civil War pitted brother against brother, we dreamed of a united nation, and freedom from slavery. As wars rocked our world, we dreamed of escape from the cares of the world. We dream of prosperity, and equality, new horizons in space, and family. Most of all, we dream of peace. In a script by Mary Ellen Connelly, using letters, speeches, and essays alongside modern choral music, we will explore the many facets of the American Dream. The program includes arrangements of the Battle Hymn of the Republic and America the Beautiful, but also features some of the most moving modern choral music such as The Day is Done by Stephen Paulus and Even When He Is Silent by Kim André Arnesen. The MSVA premieres many of the choral arrangements that our founder and artistic director, Dr. Jones writes, and for this program, the MSVA will present his arrangement, Workin' on the Railroad. For full program information and to purchase tickets in advance, visit Tickets: $25 Adults, $20 Seniors (65+), $15 Students (6-17). Take 4 Package provides 4 tickets for $50 or $12.50 each.
4:00 p.m. Saturday, March 10, 2018 at Our Savior's Way Lutheran Church, Ashburn, VA
4:00 p.m. Sunday, March 11, 2018 at Waterford Old School House, Waterford, VA
7:00 p.m. Saturday, March 17, 2018 at St. James' Episcopal Church, Leesburg, VA

Sat., March 17, 10:00 am Civil War Walking Tour of Leesburg, led by Richard Treat Gillespie. With its key geographic location just two miles from the Potomac Frontier dividing the Confederate and United States, Leesburg was bound to see a good deal of the Civil War. A Walking Tour of Civil War Leesburg with Rich Gillespie will examine the surviving Civil War townscape and watch the War develop and engulf the county seat of Loudoun. In a circuit of the historic district, the emphasis will be on what the 1,500 residents of the town would have seen at various places and what they would have experienced during 1861-65. The two-hour chronological tour will provide ample spots to sit for the weary and will paint some vibrant historic portraits to keep people enthralled. Included in the tour will be three skirmish sites, outside stops at two churches soldiers knew well, the courthouse lawn, “the best street in town,” Harrison Hall where General Lee stayed, and the Episcopal cemetery. This tour will leave from Thomas Balch Library parking lot at 10AM.  Note: This tour requires good walking shoes.

Sat., March 17, 11:00 am“The Aftermath of Antietam: Women Leaders at Smoketown Hospital.”  Dr. Emilie Amt, John Banks & Mary Tilghman will discuss the role of women in healing the wounded after the battle. The program will concentrate on Maria Hall (nurse), Miss Kerfoot (daughter of the headmaster of the College of St. James), Mrs. Mary Morris Husband and other Washington County women who accomplished so much in the Smoketown Tent Hospital Complex throughout the winter of 1862/63, caring for hundreds of wounded and ill soldiers. Boonsboro Library, Boonsboro, MD.

Sat., March 17, 1:00-4:00 pmJefferson County Museum 2018 Opening Reception. The Jefferson County Museum will celebrate the beginning of the 2018 season with a free, public reception on Saturday, March 17, 2018. Visitors can enjoy refreshments and view three new exhibits: “Four African American Artists from Jefferson County,” “Click! Clack! Ding!: Typewriters from the Collection,” and “Do-Re-Mi: Musical Instruments from the Collection.” Jefferson County Museum, 200 East Washington Street, Charles Town, WV 25414. For more information: Sarah Huston, Curator, 304-725-8628. or email

Sat., March 17, 2:00 pm -- “What Do Loudoun County, Alexandria, VA and Washington, D.C. Have In Common?” Join Loudoun County resident, Steve Hammond, for a presentation titled The P Syphaxes: Researching an African-American Family History to learn the answer to this question and more. Presented by the Black History Committee of the Friends of Thomas Balch Libary, 208 W. Market St., Leesburg.

Sun., March 18, 2:00 pm“Harriet Lane, Original First Lady of Washington,” presented by Bob O’Connor. Harriet Lane, Original First Lady of Washington is a well-researched historical fiction accounting of the life of a very interesting but virtually unknown historical figure. Orphaned at age eleven, Lane became a ward of her mother's brother, politician James Buchanan. Buchanan sent her to the finest of schools and groomed her to be a highly educated and outspoken young lady. Lane was always the best academic student at those schools while at the same time seemed to be always in trouble. One of her teachers called her "a domestic outlaw." She always did everything she attempted well, including being really good at being mischievous. When he was elected 15th President of the US, Buchanan, who was unmarried and in his fifties, took his twenty-seven year old niece, Harriet, to serve with him. The press in Washington City called her the "first lady of the land," a title none of her predecessors in the President's Mansion had ever been called. Today we use the term to describe every lady who has served alongside the President of the United States. Thomas Balch Library, 208 W. Market St., Leesburg. 

Thurs., March 22, 7:30 pm“The Battle of Tom’s Brook.”  After his victory at Fisher’s Hill, Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan pursued Gen. Jubal Early’s army up the Shenandoah Valley to near Staunton. Reinforced by Brig. Gen. Joseph Kershaw’s division, Early followed Sheridan. Maj. Gen. Thomas Rosser arrived from Petersburg to take command of Fitz Lee’s cavalry division and harassed the Federals as they moved north. On October 9, 1864, Union Brig. Gen. Alfred Torbert’s troopers turned on their pursuers, routing the divided divisions of Rosser and Brig. Gen. Lunsford Lomax at Tom’s Brook, five miles south of Strasburg. The Confederate cavalry flight was referred to by Valley residents and victorious Union troopers as the "Woodstock Races."  The cavalry-on-cavalry fighting on the Back Road at Spiker's Hill pitted two former West Point roommates against one another--Tom Rosser and George Custer. The talk will be by William Miller. Hagerstown Civil War Round Table. Homewood Suites, 1650 Pullman Lane, Hagerstown, MD 21740. $5 for non-members.

Sun., March 25, 5:00 pm"How Civil War Medicine Killed President James Garfield." Join the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War at 5:00pm on Sunday, March 25th at Town Run Taphouse and Community Pub for a presentation by Jake Wynn. When an assassin's bullet struck James Garfield in July 1881, the battle to save the president's life began. In the weeks that followed, doctors argued over how to treat the stricken executive. In the end, Dr. Willard Bliss took control of Garfield's recovery and controversy has surrounded his role ever since. Mr. Wynn will discuss the history of Garfield's recovery and how antiquated techniques learned by Dr. Bliss during his Civil War experience played a role in James Garfield's death in September 1881. Jake Wynn is the Program Coordinator at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland.  For more information on this event, please visit or

April 1-30Exhibit: General George C. Marshall: 20th Century American Hero, presented by the George C. Marshall International Center. Margaret Mercer Room, Thomas Balch Library, 208 W. Market St., Leesburg, VA.

About the Lovettsville Historical Society & Museum
What Was That Building?

by Edward Spannaus
LHS Board Member and Researcher

The greyish, barn-like building on South Locust Street, recently taken down, is believed by most local historians to have once been the Nicewarner blacksmith shop, which ceased operation in 1934. It has also been known the “wheelwright shop.”  It has not been used for anything except storage for many decades.
Lovettsville historian Glenn Grove, who died last year at the age of 93, wrote in his paper “Hidden Monuments of Lovettsville Past” about the Lovettsville Motor Company, a Chevrolet dealership located on South Loudoun Street.
"However, to the rear of this building [the dealership] and still standing is the old barn type building that housed the Nicewarner blacksmith shop.  It was operated by Mr. Henry Nicewarner, assisted by his son Lester at times, and later by Alex Overton.  It was an interesting place for a young boy to spend his time.  It was also a good place to burn bare feet, but a chance to crank the bellows made that risk worth taking.  When the elder Nicewarner died in 1934 the shop was closed and a sale held to dispose of tools."
The building itself was not real old by Lovettsville standards, judging from its construction; it was probably built in the 1890s or the early 1900s.
The entire triangular block bounded by Pennsylvania Avenue, South Loudoun Street, and Locust Street, in the mid-19th century consisted of only two parcels: A smaller rectangular parcel shown as “John F. Smith” on the 1875 town map at the corner of Pennsylvania and Loudoun – that became the marble or tombstone shop – and a second parcel extending from Pennsylvania Avenue to the point at the intersection of Loudoun and Locust.
Around 1869-1870 a smaller triangular parcel at the point was acquired by the Lovettsville School District, which owned it until selling it 1905 to Charles F. Schumaker.  On this site was the first Lovettsville “colored” school building, which has since been converted into a dwelling house.  The old stone building just north of the schoolhouse building was the town jail, according to local legend.
Lester Nicewarner acquired the old school lot and a surrounding parcel in the 1920s.  After Henry Nicewarner’s death it went to Ridgely Albaugh and his wife Edna George Albaugh in 1935;  Ridgely and Paul Albaugh operated the auto dealership on the Loudoun Street side of the property.  In 1953 ownership was transferred to Ridgely’s father-in-law S. Henry George, and then it descended to Eliza George Myers (another daughter of S. Henry George) and her husband Robert A. Myers – both educators in local public schools.  It is now owned by Tim Keena, a nephew of Eliza Myers, who is planning to build two more houses on that land, along with two dozen or more houses on the other side of Locust Street over to Frye Court.
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Map of Lovettsville's historic downtown core, excerpted from Loudoun Discovered: Communities, Corners & Crossroads, a 5-volume collection of articles by Virginia historian Eugene Scheel on the histories of towns and villages of Loudoun.  This image appears in Volume 5, "Waterford, the German Settlement and Between the Hills."  To purchase this book series, and Eugene Scheel's hand-drawn maps of Loudoun County, contact the Thomas Balch Library bookshop in Leesburg, VA.
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The Lovettsville Museum has quite a few farm and household implements from the 19th and early 20th centuries, which have been grouped together as a look-and-touch interactive display and guessing game of "pre-digital era" technology, with answer cards attached.  Many of the objects truly amaze and confound today's youngsters, who love to punch the keys on our "prehistoric cellphone keyboard" (a 1913 typewriter), talk on our "party line" of two early-1900s telephones, and crank the handles on various kitchen gadgets.  For your consideration and puzzlement, presented here is one of the mystery objects in our exhibit.

Can you guess what this object is ---
and what it does?  

(Hint: the answer is at the bottom of this newsletter.)

Visit our "What the Heck IS This Thing?" mystery objects exhibit and guessing game, on Saturdays between 1:00-4:00 at the Lovettsville Museum, 4 East Pennsylvania Avenue, next to Lovettsville Town Hall.
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History Mystery #4
Thomas Newton Wire's Blacksmith Shop
This History Mystery undated photo from the early 1900s was submitted Carolyn Kline Cogle of Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, and her nephew, Richard Kline.  The man pictured with the hammer in his hand is Carolyn's maternal grandfather, Thomas Newton Wire, a blacksmith from Lovettsville, Virginia.  Thomas Newton Wire was married to Carolyn's grandmother, Laura Renner Sweeney.  To her knowledge, their only child together was Carolyn's mother, Zoe Virginia Wire, born 11/22/1908.  Zoe married Carolyn's father, Richard C. Kline, in 1924.  Carolyn was born in Brunswick, Maryland.  Carolyn has heard that her grandparents are buried in a Lutheran cemetery in Lovettsville.  She also has heard that Richard Hickman's wife, Sue, was her mother's cousin.

According to their family lore, Thomas Newton Wire's blacksmith shop may have been located in Charles Town, WV, or possibly in Lovettsville.  Will our intrepid subscribers please assist Carolyn and Richard to identify the location of this shop, and whether the building still stands today?  They would appreciate any help we can give to solve this mystery, and perhaps learn more about their family tree.  
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Our Mission

We look forward to this new year in continuing our mission of preserving and promoting the heritage of Lovettsville, and also our surrounding area formerly known as “The German Settlement."  The success of our mission relies heavily upon on our membership, which provides the needed resources and also committed volunteers to share our local history. Please encourage your friends, family, and others to join the Lovettsville Historical Society (LHS), or renew their annual membership, to ensure our continued success in preserving and promoting our local heritage.
There are many opportunities for members to participate in supporting the Lovettsville Historical Society & Museum, and also meet others who share in our passion for preserving and promoting our local history. This includes volunteering to help with the museum, fundraising, organizing events, and publicizing our activities. We are always in need of guest speakers in support of our historical education program and also hosting special presentations for groups such as Scouts, school classes and tourists. Lastly, the donations of local historical artifacts such as family documents and pictures (or digital scans thereof), ensure that the we can continue our efforts to expand our presentation of local genealogical information.

* The Lovettsville Historical Society, Inc. is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization under the Internal Revenue Code.  Contributions and membership dues are tax deductible under Internal Revenue Code Section 170.
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"What the Heck IS This Thing?"
Guessing Game #3
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Back Issues of the LHS Newsletter
As a subscriber to our monthly e-newsletter, you get a sneak preview of the articles that we share throughout the month on our Facebook page and in the Lovettsville Mayor's Newsletter.  In case you missed it, here are links to our Back Issues, for your reading enjoyment.
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